BATON ROUGE – Last week in its season-opener against Wisconsin, LSU faced a Badger offense that was old school, just line up and play smash-mouth football.
This week against Sam Houston State, the Tiger defense will be challenged in other ways as the Bearkats operate at breakneck speed, averaging nearly 100 plays and 600 yards of offense a contest.
It should make for an entertaining night of football in Tiger Stadium when No. 12 LSU hosts Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and will be LSU’s first contest in the newly expanded Tiger Stadium, which now has a capacity of 102,321.
LSU, ranked No. 12 in both national polls, is 1-0 overall after last week’s 28-24 win over 14th-ranked Wisconsin in Houston. The Tigers have won 46 straight non-conference regular season games, a streak that dates back to the 2002 season.
Sam Houston State, members of the Southland Conference, is 1-1 overall. The Bearkats posted a 51-20 win over Alabama State last week after opening the season with a 56-35 loss to Eastern Washington. It’s the first meeting between LSU and Sam Houston State in football.
LSU continued to prepare for Saturday’s home-opener with a workout inside at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility as another afternoon rain shower kept the Tigers inside for the second straight day.
“We’ve had a nice week of preparation,” LSU coach Les Miles said following Wednesday’s practice. “We worked hard today and got a lot done. This team is starting to feel right to me. I like our plan. It needs to be a good plan because we have a very quality opponent.
“We are looking forward to being in Tiger Stadium. We were in there during the spring as it was being built and again in fall ball and we are itching to get back. It’s a special place.”
Miles said that the Tiger has done a good job of getting ready for the fast-paced Sam Houston State offense.
“I think we shift gears pretty effectively,” Miles said of the defense. “Our coaches understand that it is a different week completely. I think there is a component of football that those lines have to be physical and play controlled. Tackle football is tackle football. To me, we have an advantage against most teams in the fact that we have speed and can cover. We have depth. We can keep our guys fresh. It will be a challenge, certainly, but I think we have worked hard this week.”
Miles said that he expects LSU to use the same starting lineup on both sides of the ball on Saturday.
“I think it will be very similar,” Miles said. “There are some young defensive linemen (Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore) we would like to see on the field. You have to develop a level of competency and that is the issue. We have very talented guys we just need to get them ready to play. Hopefully that will be this week but for the most part you will recognize the same starting lineup.”
The Tigers will practice again on Thursday afternoon followed by a walk through on Friday.